Council approves Smokefree Outdoor Area Policy
All Council reserves, parks and destination beaches will be designated as smokefree, following approval of the draft Smokefree Outdoor Area Policy (SFOA).
The Community Development and Services committee approved the policy and also agreed to consult with the public on future options to extend this policy.
The intent of the SFOA is to further ‘denormalize’ smoking and contribute to improved health and wellbeing.
The policies are not intended to be enforced, but rather to provide leadership and direction on a serious public health issue.
Along with Council reserves, parks, playgrounds and destination beaches (Midway, Waikanae, Kaiti, Wainui and Okitu) becoming smokefree, the policy will require all Council run and sponsored events to be smokefree.
Tairāwhiti has the highest rate of smoking in New Zealand, with 30% of adults in the region - twice the national average – reporting as daily smokers. Those figures climb to 41.7% for Maori.
Approximately $77.5 million is spent on tobacco in this region every year.
Research has found that in areas where children are present, smokers are more likely to comply with smokefree signage. Likewise, caregivers are more likely to ask smokers to stop or move away in well sign posted smokefree areas.
Implementing the policy will require new signage which is provided to Council free of charge by the Health Promotion Agency. The signs will be provided in English and Te Reo to meet our bilingual signage requirements.
Guidance from Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation has advised authorities not to legislate against or reduce the availability of vaping and e-cigarettes.
While not harmless, vaping and e-cigarettes are far less harmful than tobacco and offer one of the most-effective smoking cessation tools currently available.
Council will consult with the community on whether or not to extend the policy to include the CBD and wharf area, suburban centres such as Ballance Street Village and rural town centres.